Friday, July 12, 2013

ISDEV DELEGATES IN TUNISIA

Academic networking - Prof Syukri exchanging
contact information with Zeineb Zouari from Sousse University (left) and Assoc. Prof Dr Thouraya Haj Amor from Monastir University (right), Tunisia

12 July - ISDEV Director, Professor Muhammad Syukri Salleh and ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr Zakaria Bahari were on a 26 hour flight to Sfax, Tunisia to participate in the 2nd Sfax International Forum on Islamic Conference. They were there from 25th June till 2nd July 2013. The conference was organized by the University of Sfax and Tunisian Association of Zakat, with the cooperation of IRTI of the Islamic Development Bank.

Prof. Syukri (right) presenting his paper, chaired by Prof Dr Dhafer Saidane from Skema Business School, France (fourth from right)

The theme of the conference was on the Alleviation of Poverty Through Zakat, Waqf and Microfinance. Prof. Muhammad Syukri presented his paper on “Contemporary Vision of Poverty and Islamic Strategies for Poverty Alleviation”. His paper was meant to revisit the understanding of the so-called Islamic concept and strategies of poverty. Prof Syukri felt the need to emphasize on a true understanding of poverty as there seems to be numerous talks on Islamic institutions such as zakat and waqf to alleviate poverty, yet leaving the very meaning of the poverty undefined.

No time was spared - two postgraduate students from Sfax University seeking Dr. Zakaria's (right)
viewpoint during the break

Dr. Zakaria Bahari presented his paper on “From Subsistence to Productive Zakat : A Way for Poverty Alleviation of the Zakat Centre in Penang, Malaysia.” In the same line as Prof Syukri, Dr Zakaria pointed out that the various means and approaches currently undertaken in alleviating poverty is mainly through the western ethno-centric definition of poverty which are measured by ethno-centric indicators as carried out by the Islamic institutions such as zakat and waqf. This has led to the inability to tackle poverty alleviation holistically from the Islamic viewpoint as the instruments and tools used are based on the ethno-centric indicators. These tools have shown to be insufficient tools of analysis when solving matters related to Islam. This definitely has to be corrected.

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